|His most famous role - Count Dracula.|
Bela is truly one of my favorite actors. I wanted to include him in this challenge - but this will be a pretty light look at the man - there are whole books written about him and his life - we'll just dip in for the big picture, and some interesting highlights.
Born October 22, 1882 in Lugos, Hungary. Died August 16, 1956 in Los Angeles, California. Was member number 28 of the Screen Actors Guild.
|An early acting promo photo.|
He started acting on stage in his native Hungary. He became a huge star, with one of his most popular roles playing Jesus Christ. He once was quoted as saying "In Hungary acting is a career for which one fits himself as earnestly and studiously as one studies for a degree in medicine, law or philosophy. In Hungary, acting is a profession."
|Bela as Jesus Christ.|
Bela Lugosi was the first celebrity to come out to the press as a drug addict - he'd become addicted to morphine in the 1930's.
"Methadone treatment, with its heinous side-effects, was virtually unknown throughout most of the world until the 1960s; but it had been developed in England during the late thirties, and something was known there of its effect in treating addiction. Bela had journeyed to England in 1938, anxious for a methadone cure. He later said, "I smuggled a box of it back. I guess I bought a pound." Treating himself under methadone in the privacy of his home, Lugosi eventually realized to his despair that he had traded one drug problem for another. He said "I didn't eat. I got sicker and sicker." From Heroes of the Horrors, by Calvin Beck. Page 101. MacMillan Publishing, 1975.
|Giving his all in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster in 1955.|
Late in life Bela was befriended by Ed Wood, Jr. - the infamous director of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Ed cast Bela in three movies - but Bela was only alive to work in two of them - Glen or Glenda? and Bride of the Monster. For Plan 9, Ed planned to have Bela star as The Ghoul Man - a resurrected corpse working for space aliens out to take over the Earth. Sadly, Bela died during production in 1956 after only a couple of minutes of footage had been shot. Three years later Wood had secured the funds to finish the movie - and did - using all of the footage of Bela, then substituting his wife's chiropractor as a very unconvincing double.
|Ed Wood and Bela on the set of Glen or Glenda?.|
It was a sad end to a career that never reached the heights it seemed it should have. Thankfully, a couple of generations of Monster Kids have helped Bela Lugosi's memory stay alive.
Until you can "C" the next post you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!